Posts Labeled: Recipes
Cake Pop Craze
By • Filed In: Recipes, Sweet Tooth, Weddings

Cake pops have become such a craze lately. So much so that they’re everywhere you turn. Books, stores, molds, you name it. Well apparently our family caught the cake pop fever last summer right around Kal and Brian’s wedding. Kal decided that instead of buying a desert for the rehearsal dinner, she wanted to make them. And perfect enough, they became the table centerpieces. Booyaa for double duty!

Cute right! They look like a bouquet of colorful flowers but taste much better! We got a bunch of smallish, cheapo, and colorful flower pots and used them as the base. I’ll explain more on that later, but first let’s talk actual cake pop action. We made them again recently so we could take pics of all the action for you guys.

You’ll need a box of cake mix. Any flavor would work, but for the wedding we used vanilla, chocolate, and lemon. You’ll also need a can of frosting, again any flavor will do (if you use chocolate cake and vanilla frosting it tastes like an Oreo). And then you will need, candy melts/chocolate, sucker sticks ( you can get them at Michaels), ribbon, mini plastic bags, sprinkles, and flower foam for both letting the pops cool and to stick in the flower pots.

First thing you have to do is bake the cake according to the box directions. You could get all over achiever-ish and bake a cake from scratch. But we were making these in mass quantities for the wedding so that was way too much for us. Then after it is completely cool, take two forks and crumble it up it to very small pieces. Yes I know it seems weird to bake something and then destroy it, but just trust me.

Once you crumbed up your cake, poor it into a mixing bowl and add in the can of frosting. Mix it all together.

Then scoop out the cake mix by the spoonful and roll them into little balls and place them on a lined baking sheet. We usually make them so that they are 2 or 3 bites per cake pop. You just don’t want them too big or they won’t fit in the little individual bags. Once you have them all rolled out, put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the firm up just a bit.

In a bow or mug, met a small amount of the chocolate. Dip the end of one of the sucker sticks into the chocolate and push into the cake balls. This helps the cake stay on the stick. It would probably slide right off when during the next step if you didn’t do this. Then put them back in the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Melt a bunch more of the chocolate in the mug and dip and swirl the cake pop into it so that it becomes completely covered. While the chocolate is still wet add sprinkles. We just used multicolored ones this time, but for the wedding we used a bunch of solid colors so they looked like individual flowers.

Then the flower foam comes into play. We got a ring of green flower foam and used it to set the cake pop sticks into while they were drying. That way you don’t have to set them down and get one side that has a smashed/flat chocolate. Make sure to keep the plastic on so that you don’t get little bits of flower foam on the cake pop.

Once they’ve dried all you have left to do is decide how you want to display them. They look great just laying on a pretty tray, tied up into individual clear bags, or as a pretty bouquet in a pot. For the pot, just take more green flower foam and cut it to the size of the pot so that it sits closer to the top of it. Then just push in your cake pops and add some frilly paper so you don’t see the foam.

So there you have it! They taste aaaa-mazing, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.

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Wonders of the Web, Easter Edition!
By • Filed In: Projects, Recipes, Sweet Tooth, Wonders of the Web

Easter is right around the corner, so recenlty I’ve been searching for some Easter inspiration.  Lucky for you, I’m sharing all my findings today.

We’re headed over to my mom’s for Easter brunch on Sunday.  If you’re the one hosting, here are some things you can use to “Easter-ize” your gathering.

I was looking for a new “eggish” recipe to bring as well as a dessert for people to nibble on.  Here’s what I’m going with:

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

Aren’t those cute?  They look really easy to make, too.  You can find the recipe here.  If you like spending time in the kitchen and want to fancy it up a bit, make Cortney’s homemade Nutella rather than the store bought.





Italian Sausage Egg Muffins

These remind me of crustless quiches.  Again, they look really simple to make.  I’m going to make them using my mini muffin tin so they become bit sized.  This way I can serve them as an appetizer and people can just pop them in their mouths.  I’m also thinking of adding red bell pepper to bring in color.  If you’re not a broccoli lover, try using spinach or asparagus instead.  Here is the recipe.


I’m also making crock pot cheesy potatoes.  I’m going to use the same recipe I used at Kaitlyn’s bridal shower.   You can find the cheesy potato recipe about a quarter of the way down on that post.


Easter Carrot Silverware

I adore these!  Everyone needs silverware at a brunch, so why not make them a centerpiece.  Buy lime green silverware, wrap them in an orange napkin, and twist shut with green pipe cleaners.





Button Egg

Have a button collection?  Make a piece of art with them!







Easter Centerpieces


Check out these ones below.  You can use these beyond Easter and they strike the shabby chic look I love.

Take a close look at the lemon and egg ones.  What a smart idea to put a slender vase inside another vase or a pitcher to hold the flowers!  People are so darn creative!  Of course, all these images are from Pinterest :)

I wish you a happy Easter ya’ll (can you tell I miss Nashville?)!

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Love and Lobster
By • Filed In: Recipes

Over my break, Jeff and I decided to do something that we had never done before. We decided that although we love going out to dinner and trying out all the new restaurants, we just wanted to do something fun at home. So we decided to….drum roll please……cook live lobsters! Ahhhh! It was actually way easier than I anticipated and it turned out to be a blast! We put together a little video for you. Well ok it’s not “little”. It’s actually about 7min 30sec. But it’s a little bit of fun mixed in with some instructions on how to cook the lobster.

We used the HD GoPro camera to record everything. It’s this really cool little thing that is meant for extreme sports. You can get all these crazy accessories like a head strap, chest strap, water proof case, etc. so you can record your crazy stunts like jumping out of an airplane and what not. We got it because we thought it would be fun for when we go boating and tubing in the summer but thought it would be fun for other everyday things as well. It was our first time using the camera so the video turned out a little dark, but that’s ok.



Did you see me literally throw the lobster into the pot!? I don’t know why but I was so afraid of that thing! We had a lot of lobster meat left over so I made lobster bisque. I used an incredibly easy recipe:

Lobster Bisque

1 can cream of shrimp soup (I couldn’t find this so I just used tomato soup and it tasted great)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 c. milk (I used 1.5 cups heavy cream, and 1.5 cups skim milk)
1/2 – 1 lb. lobster cut into small pieces

Combine soups together. Add milk and 1/2 of the lobster meat. Use a hand blender (or real blender) to get rid of any chunks/lumps. Add the rest of the lobster meat pieces and cook slowly until very hot. Do not boil.

I know it sounds weird to use tomato and mushroom soups in lobster bisque, but it was actually really good. It had just a hint of tomato and you couldn’t taste the mushroom. It was the perfect combination so that it wasn’t “fishy”.


Friendly Competition
By • Filed In: Party, Recipes

Apparently our family loves some good old fashioned competition. This past Sunday, we attended a chili cook-off and man did it get intense. There was smack talk and everything. But before we get into the results, lets get into the details. My aunt and uncle were the host and asked us all to bring a pot of our best homemade chili while they provided all the fixings.  Kali, Brian, Jeff, and myself were a team. And they had everything you could possibly think of. Everything from homemade tortilla chips, to onions, to jalapenos, to sour cream. Once we got to their house my aunt took our pot of chili and labeled them with a number using a chalk pen (like these or these).

See those little white cups next to the pots of chili? Those were the tasting cups. They labeled those with the coordinating numbers and when it was time for the tastings we all took one little white cup for each of them. There were nine pots of chili so we each had 9 white cups.

Getting the tasting cups

The chili we submitted

Ballots ready to be counted

Once we tasted all nine, we picked the one we deemed the best and cast our ballot. The ballot bowl was my aunt’s grandfather’s cowboy hat that he wore every single day. How cute is that!? I guess I should mention that my aunt grew up in Texas, you don’t see a ton of regular cowboy hat wearers around these parts.

Once we tasted all of them, we were allowed to get a big ol’ bowl of our favorite and load it up with all the yummy fixings.

My aunt and uncle not only asked us to bring a pot of chili, but a six-pack of beer. Did you guys know that Frank Thomas, the Chicago White Sox legend, created his own beer? Yep, he did, it’s called Big Hurt Beer. Get it? Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt. Nice huh!? So to pay homage to our city love, that’s what we brought. I’m definitely not a beer expert of any kind, but it’s really good. It’s a nice fairly light beer with good flavor. Jeff’s opinion holds more weight than mine, and he loves the stuff.

So are you curious about who won? WE DID! Well technically my aunt did, but since she was the host she didn’t want to take a prize and removed herself from the competition. And we were next in line. So even though we technically got second place, we were moved on up to the first place spot. They even had first, second, and third place prizes. First place was a huuuuge bottle of vodka infused with chili peppers. Bloody marys anyone? Second place was a bottle of hot sauce, and third place was a spatula that said “hot stuff”.

I know y’all (a chili cook-off calls for a southern accent of course) want to see the winning chili looking all pretty, so here y’all go.

And here is a printable version of the short rib chili recipe. It is a fairly thick chili, especially the day after you make it. If you like your chili a bit thinner, add more broth and then adjust your seasonings accordingly.

We hope you enjoy the chili as much as we did!

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Wonders of the Web
By • Filed In: Recipes, Wonders of the Web

…the recipe edition. Since it is food week here on JKR, it only makes sense. Right? So here is what has caught our eye around the web recently.

  • I used to love chicken pot pies when I was younger, but they are a bit too rich and heavy to eat one by myself these day. These mini personal portions would be perfect! They are just so cute!
  • This rice pudding desert sounds amazing. Whats not to love. Rice, good. Coconut, gooooood. (10 points for anyone who can get that TV show reference)
  • I would have gone crazy for this as a kid. I need to have a play date with some of my favorite little kiddos so I can make them. Or I can just make the for myself, which is fairly likely.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend. See you next week!

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream
By • Filed In: Recipes

It’s no secret I love Giada.  Whenever I’m looking for a new pasta dish I turn to one of her books.  I recently made this dish a month ago when friends came over for dinner.  Last Friday I was craving it so I made it again for a date night in.

You can find the original Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream recipe here.  I loooooove fresh herbs so I double the parsley and basil.  I also was skeptical using the clam juice.  I had never cooked with it or heard of it.  But it sure is good in this dish.

If you love Italian and are looking for something outside spaghetti and meatballs, definitely try this!

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
By • Filed In: Recipes

Yesterday’s post with Emeral’s Chili recipe inspired me.  I declare this week recipe week!  I’ll be sharing some of my favorites.

Today’s recipe is a very easy, quick, and yummy one.  It’s great for a snack, lunch, or dinner.  It’s Poppy Seed Chicken Salad!

All you do is combine the following ingredients.

Here’s what you need:

  • One rotisserie chicken, shredded OR 3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (you can boil in water or put in the crock pot)
  • 3-4 stalks of celery sliced thin
  • 2-3 cup halved grapes
  • 1 cup walnuts (if you want them roasted, spread them on a cookie sheet and put in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • about 1 1/2 cups poppy seed dressing (I like Maple Grove Farms of Vermont.  It comes in a glass bottle and only has 35 calories for 2 tablespoons).  Just add a little at a time and stop until desired amount.
  • about 1/4 cup mayo
Serve with crackers or croissants.
I love the poppy seed dressing.  It’s way more flavorful than all the mayo that people usually put in and it’s wayyyyyy healthier!
Thanks to Cortney’s college sorority house mom for the poppy seed dressing tip!
Now that it’s recipe week, comment and share one of yours, or email it to me at and I’ll create a post for you :)
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Soup-er Bowl Cook Off
By • Filed In: Football, Party, Recipes

Ok, not soup, more like chili.  Sunday we headed over to our friend’s place to watch the super bowl and enjoy lots o’ chili!  Everyone was asked to bring a chili recipe.  We then tasted each and voted on a winner.  It was crock pot galore at Brad’s house!

When it came time for Brian and I to choose a recipe for our chili cook off, I knew I needed to find a recipe that would suit Brian.  That means no beans and extra spicy!  So, I spotted this Emeral recipe and knew it would meet Brian’s needs.

Of course we made a few changes.  We never added the Mexican oregano, added extra garlic, and one fresh habanero.  We also cooked it in the crock pot rather than in a dutch oven.  We still seared the meat with garlic beforehand, but added the onion and everything else in the crock pot.  We started cooking it on Saturday, put it in the fridge Saturday night to let the flavors combine, then reheated it on Sunday morning.  After letting it simmer for hours, just stirring it with a wooden spoon shredded the meat.  This is how it looked Sunday morning in the pot.

To tame the spice we added about 3/4 c of heaving whipping cream at the last minute when we added the last cup of beef broth with the masa harina (corn based flour, see the “flour” package in the background of the second picture below).

To top off the chili we fried our own tortilla strips (thanks for the inspiration Aunt Cyndi!).  We used vegetable oil and brought it to 350 degrees in a medium sized sauce pan.  Then we added about 8 strips at a time, left them in until crisp, laid them on a paper towel and sprinkled with seasoning salt.

Here’s our final product.  If you like spicy chili, you should definitely try it!  If you like it not so spicy, just omit the hot peppers and substitute with bell peppers.

Mexican Style Shredded Pork with Lime Rice
By • Filed In: Recipes

Nowadays in the winter months I turn to my crockpot for Sunday night dinners.  Most recipes don’t require a lot of ingredients and the slow cookin’ makes everything juicy and tender.  A couple weeks back I cooked up this simple and yummy Mexican shredded pork.

This is What You’ll Need for the Pork:

  • 1 (2-3 lb) boneless pork loin roast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chile peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • 1/4 c chipotle sauce (I couldn’t find this so I used Guy Fieri’s chipotle salsa instead)
Season the pork with salt and place in the slow cooker.  Place chile peppers, onion and garlic on top of the pork.  Poor in the chipotle sauce and 1/4 cup of water.  Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.  Shred with two forks.
To hit my Chipotle craving, I made this rice to go along with the pork.

This is What You Need for the Lime Rice:

  • 1 1/2 c uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro
In a pot bring 2 3/4 c water and rice to a boil.  Add the lime juice and cilantro.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
You can eat it with the pork like a rice bowl and top it off with your favorite taco ingredients or wrap it all up into a tortilla for a burrito.   Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Want to add some more flair to your Mexican dinner?  Make my famous margaritas to go along with it 😉
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Kal’s Famous Margs
By • Filed In: Cocktails, Party, Recipes

Today is a very exciting day on Just KaliRae.  Today you’ll find the famous recipe for my margaritas!   This is a concoction that everyone is always asking me how to make.  The original recipe came from my college roommate’s mom, but I made some alterations to it along the way.

These margs are a staple at any summer lake house trip.  They’re the perfect day drinking refreshments :) But the drink also worked with the color scheme for our mom’s 60th birthday party and paired perfectly with the Mexican food we served for dinner.

Here’s the recipe I used to fill that giant drink dispenser:

Mix all the following together…

  • 4 cans of frozen limeade (thawed)
  • one handle of tequila
  • one 2 liter bottle of sprite zero
  • fill the empty 2 liter bottle with water and add
  • 4 beers

Here’s the recipe I use to make one pitcher size:

Mix all the following together in a pitcher…

  • 1 can frozen limeade (I often mix it up by using raspberry limeade/lemonade mix, too!)
  • fill the empty can from the limeade with tequila
  • fill the can with sprite zero
  • fill the can with water
  • 1 beer

Here is a printable version: Kal’s Famous Margaritas

Alongside the margs we gave guests the option of using straws.  Cort bought these from the Etsy shop Hey Yo Yo.  Aren’t they cute?  Even Brian liked ’em.

If you’re down for a fiesta, these margaritas are a must!  Try them and you’ll be addicted.  Maybe you’ll become known for them, too!